US Navy lab tests "disposable" microdrones that glide down from the sky

The US Naval Research Labs's CICADA (Close-In Covert Autonomous Disposable Aircraft) microdrones are designed to be dropped in bulk from a flying aircraft. Once airborne, the drones use autopilot to stabilize and then GPS and fins to steer to the intended location. Apparently they can glide into a safe landing within 15 feet of their targets. From IEEE Spectrum:

On landing, they transmit data from embedded sensors (a meteorological payload at the moment) back up to their launch aircraft through an antenna embedded in their wings, and each robot will continue to operate and send back data from the ground until its battery runs out...

“Every time I show up at a trade show, or talk with people about CICADA, it’s ‘oh, could you do this?’,” he said. “Chemical and biological sensing is a very interesting idea. There are other electronics you could put in it for seismic sensing along a road. Really, the sky is the limit. It’s just a flying circuit board, so anything you can integrate at the component level is fair game...”

“Right now, [CICADAs] would be ready to go drop into a hurricane or tornado,” he said. “I really would love to fly an airplane over, and each of these could sample in the tornado. That’s ready now. We’d just need a ride. And [FAA] approval.”

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UK prison deploys active anti-drone countermeasures to fight contraband smuggling

A UK weapons company called Drone Defence has sold an anti-drone product to Les Nicolles prison on Guernsey that will use 20 nonspecific "disruptors" to do something to drones that will stop them from overflying the prison and smuggling in contraband. Read the rest

How to defend yourself from hostile consumer drones, US Army Edition

The US Army has released "Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System Techniques," a manual for soldiers and commanders who find themselves in the field fighting forces that use modified consumer drones to gather intelligence and project force against them. Read the rest

Snap is developing drone for users to share overhead videos and photos: NYT report

One of the products that Snapchat owner Snap Inc. is developing as “a modern-day camera company” is a drone, reports the New York Times today.

Sources for this bold claim are “three people briefed on the project who asked to remain anonymous because the details are confidential.”

The drone would help users take videos and photographs from overhead, then share that visual data with Snap, and presumably, other users of the service.

Snap is scheduled to go public later this week in a long-anticipated IPO. Read the rest

China's Navy just seized a U.S. military drone that was underwater in the South China Sea

The Cold Drone Wars have begun. In a first-of-its-kind military standoff, the Chinese Navy has taken possession of an underwater autonomous drone deployed by a U.S. oceanographic vessel in the South China Sea.

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Science fiction short shot with semi-autonomous drones

Tim Maughan writes, "Thanks to all the Boing Boing crew that checked out the trailer for our Detroit LIDAR film, it'll be out soon - in the meantime our film IN THE ROBOT SKIES is now up to stream. The first narrative film shot entirely by semi-autonomous drones, it's a love story set on a highly surveilled housing estate in London. Written by me, directed by Liam Young, with music by Forest Swords." Read the rest

Criminal entrepreneurship in Mexico's high-tech drug cartels

Dr Rodrigo Nieto-Gomez is a research professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, studying "criminal entrepreneurship" in drug cartels, who beat Amazon to using drones for delivery by years, use modified potato guns to shoot cocaine and marijuana bundles over border fences, and represent the "true libertarian, Ayn Rand capitalism." Read the rest

That time London was nearly destroyed by Nazi paleo-drones

The Nazi V-1 "robot bomb" (AKA the "buzz bomb") was a kind of flying landmine that terrorized London during the Blitz, doing incredible damage to the city, sowing disarray and fear, as this Periscope newsreel makes clear. Read the rest

Children in Uganda watch a hobbyist's drone fly for the first time, and totally flip out

The way these schoolchildren in rural Uganda react to a hobbyist's drone flight demo is so delightful. Honestly, my reaction when I first saw a friend navigate his UAV into the air was about the same.

Mark Brandon Smith shot this wonderful video, and tells the tale behind it.

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Turn drone footage into 3D terrain models, which you can 3D print

Drone Deploy is an analytics and automation package that uses drones to create accurate 3D terrain and architectural models. Read the rest

Amazon's serious about drones: Prime Air UAVs will carry 5-lb. packages 10 miles in 30 minutes

Amazon is advancing its drone program with great speed. This is not a joke. Say goodbye to the brown trucks.

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Drone carrying cellphones, drugs, hacksaw blades crashes at Oklahoma prison

Officials in Oklahoma claim to have halted the first attempt in the state to smuggle contraband into a prison with an unmanned aerial vehicle. Read the rest

Obama's coming for your Christmas drones

Amid growing fears about safety and security risks from unauthorized drone flights, federal regulators say they plan to require pretty much all recreational drones in the U.S. to be registered. Read the rest

Watch these drones build a rope bridge you could actually walk across

This video is amazing, and feels like something that will become even more graceful, precise, and normal as drone technology and design improve.

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Millennium Falcon quadcopter

Skinning drones with iconic spaceship shells is an absolute natural and I expect to see a lot more of it -- here's a salvo, Air Hogs's Millennium Falcon quadcopter, which hits stores on Sept 15 -- part of a family that includes landspeeders, TIE fighters, X-wings, and speeder bikes. Read the rest

“I caught a fish with my drone!”

I believe this to be very likely faked, but nonetheless fantastic. Read the rest

Selfie drones are a huge problem in the ancient ruins of Provence, and the New York Times is ON IT

Never change, New York Times. Read the rest

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